Updated September 11, 2020 - 7:48 am
As Nevada awaits approval for the federal $300-a-week unemployment benefit application, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday it will double the three weeks of pay initially guaranteed to jobless Americans.
FEMA said it will provide payments “for a full six weeks,” based on U.S. Department of Labor projections and current state spending rates.
Under the Lost Wages Assistance program made available by President Donald Trump’s Aug. 8 executive action, states were initially allowed three weeks’ worth of benefits upon approval retroactive to Aug. 1.
“Regardless of where the states and territories are in their process to receive and distribute the FEMA funding, FEMA will fund six weeks in $300 supplemental unemployment benefits to every state and territory that has applied for this assistance by September 10,” a FEMA spokesperson said Thursday in a statement to the Review-Journal.
Nevada, which is awaiting approval for the LWA program by FEMA, was the last state to apply for the first-come, first-served program.
Spokespeople for Nevada’s employment agency and Gov. Steve Sisolak did not immediately respond to a request for comment on FEMA’s decision.
More than 221,000 unemployed Nevadans continue to file weekly for jobless benefits as of Aug. 29, according to the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation’s latest figures. Over 104,000 self-employed and independent contractors in Nevada filed continued weekly claims through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program in the same period.
DETR previously said it could take up to six weeks after FEMA approves Nevada’s application before eligible claimants could see payments.
Almost every state, plus Guam and Washington, D.C., applied and received approved from FEMA. South Dakota declined to apply for the assistance.
To date, $30 billions of the $44 billion available has been distributed, according to the FEMA spokesperson.
DETR applied Sept. 2 for the LWA program after Sisolak gave the agency the green light in late August, saying it is “the only option for additional federal assistance that is currently available.”
Earlier this week, a White House official told the Review-Journal that “While the President wished the Governor moved faster to leverage the unemployment benefits made possible through his executive action, the President is pleased that Governor Sisolak finally took his own action to support the hardworking people of Nevada.”
Not everyone who already filed for unemployment will be eligible for this LWA benefit.
Claimants who are eligible are those whose weekly benefit amount is at least $100.
Filers who have exhausted their unemployment benefits and are enrolled in state extended benefits program are not eligible to receive LWA funds, according to the Labor Department’s Aug. 12 guidelines.
Additional guidelines released Aug. 17 by the Labor Department explain that states must contact individuals who are eligible for LWA.